Many American families display forms of dysfunctionality. In one family the
father may be a workaholic and the mother an alcoholic. In another, the father
maybe an alcoholic and the mother an enabling codependent who never touches a
drop. Regardless of the specific affliction, children being raised within
dysfunctional families are deprived of what is needed to become happy, healthy,
and well-adjusted adults. One of the most pervasive effects of this deprivation
is Teenage Pregnancy Essay.
In the case of a family where one parent, the father, is
an alcoholic, the affected parent turns to alcohol as a remedy for some personal
shortcoming. This parent has little to offer a young girl seeking the approval
and admiration of her father. More often than not, the child is viewed as a
nuisance by the parent, and the resultant irritation is hard to disguise. The
child learns to either accept the irritation as the price for that parents
affection, or rejects the cost and seeks the attention of the other parent. The
other parent, if healthy, is carrying the weight of the alcoholic partner’s
disease and the tasks required to make a house a home. At best she has her hands
full; at worst she is as mentally incapacitated as the father.
young girl grows up under-nurtured, under-valued and lonely. Similar to craving
carrots when the body needs vitamin A, the young woman’s mind will seek the
means to fulfill the void left by the dysfunctional parent.! When the deprived
young woman reaches puberty, she finds a seemingly endless well of attention,
often mistaken as affection, in the young boys she has grown up with.
Unbeknownst to her, the young men, dealing with the onslaught of pubescent
hormones, are trying to fulfill a completely different set of needs. And thus,
the groundwork has been set for a teenage pregnancy. The least complex
enticement for an adolescent female to become pregnant is the fantasy that the
expected child will fulfill her need for love and affection.
As seen on
television, a baby can be as cute as a stuffed animal and as loyal to its mother
as a Labrador retriever. What is not seen is that the baby is a life-long
responsibility–one that a teenage mother has not expected and is completely
unprepared to accept. Also the pregnancy itself can serve as a vehicle to
receive the attention that was lacking in her family of origin. I remember
talking to a pregnant woman in line at the grocery store. When I asked how long
she had been pregnant, she replied six months and went on to state that her baby
kicks almost continually. In disbelief as asked if I could feel the baby kick;
she answered yes, and after 30 seconds the baby did kick.
Later, in the parking
lot, it occurred to me that I had handled the stomach of a complete stranger
solely because she was pregnan! t. Another motivating factor is the hope that
with the new child she will gain some of the praise and respect that she was
denied throughout her childhood. The act of childbirth itself is a great
accomplishment–an accomplishment which under normal circumstances should be
honored. Many couples try for years to produce children without success. Some
pregnancies require monumental efforts such artificial insemination or invitro-fertilization.
In the worst cases couples are forced to adopt.
Consequently, childbirth could
be construed as an empowering experience by the adolescent, and that can be
significant in the life of a child who has had little power. The childbirth may
also be perceived by the adolescent as a passage into adulthood. In this, as in
many of the teenage mother’s expectations, she is quite often disappointed. It
is easy to see that the outcome desired by a pregnant teenager take several
forms, but the underlying motivation is to receive the love and admiration the
parents would not, or could not provide. The most devastating aspect of a
teenage pregnancy is that little thought is given to the responsibilities
required of the mother to support her new child. Consequently the likelihood is
high that the next generation will not receive what it needs to become happy and